Pat Hickey says John Delaney is the favourite to succeed him as the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland

The 48-year-old is currently the CEO of the Football Association of Ireland

Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey, who will step down after 28 years in his position after the current Olympic games, says John Delaney is the favourite to succeed him in the role.

Delaney, the current CEO of the Football Association of Ireland, has been in his role at the FAI for 11 years having assumed the role in December 2004 on a temporary basis before being appointed full-time in 2005.

"Willie takes over until the next general meeting, which could be a year away. Then he has to stand for election," Hickey said.

"Our understanding of it is that Willie will do a stint up until Tokyo and then the favourite at the moment to take over from him is John Delaney."

"John is very popular," he added.  

"Some countries have problems with the soccer federations and Olympic committee, but we have never had a problem, long before John Delaney, going back 20 years."

“After these Olympic Games I will be definitely, definitely be stepping down as president," he said.

"I am so busy with president of Europe and the Executive Board of IOC, it’s time to pass on the baton and we have it prepared to do it in a proper way.”